I don't want to be misleading. Not everyone can afford a GTC4Lusso T. But lets say your family can afford a Ferrari (that must be nice!). But there's a problem.
One person wants a 488 while the other wants a GTC4Lusso. Or the 812 Superfast is at the top of one list while the Portofino leads the other. Yes, it's a good, probably non-existent problem to have. But how do you decide between cars with vastly different purposes from the world's most aspirational automaker?
Enter the GTC4Lusso T, a car that looks like the V12 GTC4Lusso, but has a 602-horsepower version of the 3.9 liter twin-turbo V8 of the Portofino. It drops the all-wheel drive system of its brother. Both losses make the Lusso T 120-ish pounds lighter than the regular car. Even though it has 78 fewer horsepower, it gets to 60 in 3.5 seconds, just a tenth behind the v12.
Ferrari's aim was to make the V8 feel sportier and be a better choice for people who live in places where all-wheel drive may not be necessary or wanted. That makes the Lusso T a bridge from Ferrari's GT cars to its sports cars, its Giacomo of all trades.
If you’re suffering an existential crisis on which Ferrari to buy, here’s how the Lusso T can satisfy fans of each model in the lineup.
The Portofino is the Ferrari formerly known as the California T. The California was never really loved by Ferrari purists, the front-engined V8 convertible had a big butt thanks to its folding hardtop mechanism and was seen more as a way for Ferrari to attract potential buyers of Mercedes SLs than to extend its sporting credentials. Over time, the California evolved into a competent, high-speed tourer, particularly on the California T with the Handling Speciale package.
With the Portofino, Ferrari has bumped the V8's power to 590 horsepower and finally made a truly pretty car on the platform.
So how can the Lusso T satisfy a Portofin-iac? The rear seats are more usable than the ones in the Portofino, which can easily fit a full-size human in the back when there's also a full-size human in front. The Portofino's are more akin to the little rear seats in the 911, which means they work better as a package shelf than as seats. The Lusso T might not be a convertible, but it does have an expansive glass roof that makes you feel like you're always outside.
It has the same tasty V8 under the hood, but with more power than the Portofino. But that's probably more important to buyers of the...
The 488 is one of the finest mid-engine cars for sale today. The 660 horsepower it has from the 3.9 liter twin-turbo V8 makes it apocalyptically quick, and the chassis and steering tuning is some of the best of any car, ever. It's the ultimate sports car.
How, you may be asking, would the four-seat, heavier, longer, and larger Lusso T make someone who lusts after a 488 happy? It's in the details.
The steering has the same quickness and immediacy to it. The front end is super connected with response to even the tiniest inputs, inputs that other cars this size would likely ignore. It employs the same rear-wheel steering system found on the F12tdf, albeit in a less aggressive state of tune, which makes the rather long Lusso T feel shorter than it is. That's probably why Ferrari's rear-wheel steer system is dubbed passo corto virtuale, which literally means virtual short wheelbase in Italian.
The engine may be less powerful than the 488's, but it makes the same sounds while feeling more linear. It not be as absurdly quick and it feels less manic, but you'd be a liar if you called the Lusso T anything other than fast.
It's also less exhausting to drive.
A 488 isn't a relaxing experience, it's a car that demands and requires your full attention at all times. The Lusso T still requires your attention (since, y'know, it's a car), but it doesn't wear you out after an extended run behind the wheel. The Lusso lets you go from a casual highway or city cruise to a fun, fast run on a back road; the breadth of use is much wider.
The Lusso T looks the same as the Lusso (save the wheels and exhaust pipes) and has the same interior and hatchback, which makes it the most usable Ferrari. But the Lusso T loses the all-wheel drive system.
What exactly does that mean, you ask? Well, if you live in a place where all-wheel drive isn't needed, it means you get a car that's more fun. It loses the V12, which is always a shame, but the handling is more neutral and playful. If the V12 Lusso is for businessmen to take clients to lunch, the V8 Lusso is perfect to take those clients drifting.
Here's the thing: by all accounts, the 812 is a brilliant, astonishing car. It has the most powerful version of Ferrari's naturally aspirated V12 that's ever been fitted to a road car, and is a step up in performance from both the F12berlinetta and F12tdf that preceded it.
That means it's a lot of car. The F12tdf was razor sharp and unforgiving. If you got something wrong, particularly with the ESC off, it wouldn't let you forget it. The 812 takes a lot of the learnings from the tdf, like the wider front tires and rear-wheel steering, but makes it friendly and more manageable.
The Lusso T isn't in the same performance league as the 812. That's why you need to think of the Lusso T as the gateway to the Superfast. Let's say you're a California T owner and you liked it, you liked it a lot. Now you get the lure of Ferrari, but you're not sure it's time to step to the top of the ladder.
In that case, the Lusso T makes a ton of sense. It has the rear-wheel steering and layout of the 812 mixed with a more powerful version of the engine in the California T. The best of both worlds and a way to test the waters to see if you want the top front-engine Ferrari.
The Lusso T is like a Z3 M Coupe that went to finishing school in Zurich. It can still be raucous and wild when prodded, but it can fit a family, cruise calmly on the highway, be comfortable in the city, and somehow simultaneously be the most conspicuous car on the road while flying under the radar.
That duality of purpose makes it a hybrid, but not the boring kind. It has the chops to make both a 488 buyer and a Portofino buyer happy.
That's why Ferrari says the Lusso T is an all-new model, not a variant of the V12. On the surface, that doesn't make any sense; it looks like a Lusso without the big, glorious engine. But that isn't the case. Without the V12 and the driven front axle, it feels at home in environments that the original wouldn't.
It's not the Ferrari that's the best in any one category. But the Lusso T does things that every other car in the lineup can without feeling compromised. It's not. Instead you have the happy medium, a car that takes Ferrari's new formula for a GT and injects the excitement found in its pure sports cars.